Dame Hermione Lee Visits St Paul’s

February 10, 2017

Last Friday we had the pleasure of hosting Professor Dame Hermione Lee, literary biographer and President of Wolfson College, Oxford, at St Paul’s. Dame Hermione drew on her experiences writing the biographies of Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather and Edith Wharton to speak about the process of writing a biography and the challenges involved in attempting to record a whole life. Through reading excerpts from her biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, Dame Hermione was successful in conveying the colourful personality of the novelist. She emphasised that the opening of biography is crucial as it frames the whole work and drove the point home by asking us to craft the first sentences of our own biographies. The captivating lecture truly made us consider the question of ‘what’s in a life?’

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